For months, the city of Grove City and its parks and recreation department have been in negotiations with Gail Wilcox, executor of the Virginia Mae Ranke estate regarding the purchase of land on the property.
The issue was further discussed at the Aug. 4 Grove City Council meeting.
The property, located at 4649 Haughn Road, is estimated at $180,000. The city wants approximately two acres of the land to improve and expand the existing Hoover Park.
"It’s just a little park that has little old play cars, one little swing set and one swing," said Ruth Ranke, spokesperson for the Ranke family. "It’s the Ranke farm and as family we all love what is there."
She added the deal would be attractive because the land features a pond where local children can go fishing, if they could find a place to sit.
The city has plans to make the small walking path that surrounds the pond into a bike path that would eventually connect to the nearby Murfin Field.
Council was scheduled to vote on the purchase, but tabled the measure to a later date because the Ranke family has proposed a price reduction.
They were willing to reduce the $180,000 offering price to $150,000 if the city would give the naming rights of the added park space to the Ranke family.
"For us, this isn’t about the money," Ranke said. "Not only would we like for the Ranke family to be remembered, but the area we have is needed for the kids. We want to see children there playing in the area."
Chuck Boso, the city’s development director said postponing the purchase talks for now, in light of the price reduction, makes sense.
"Since the property will be sold at less than its appraised value, the family will get a lower tax value.
That is why we suggested to table the talks until the family can exercise their options on what is sensible for the estate," said Boso.
Kim Conrad, the Grove City Parks and Recreation director said she does not expect the recent development will hinder the project’s start date for the Hoover Park expansion, which is slated for 2009.
In other news
•Council authorized the city administrator to enter into agreement with the Grove City Community Improvement Corporation to help ease the transition of a current business in downtown Grove City while they expand.
Sound Communications requested the relocation because they need additional storage space. The corporation will act as agents and deal with the property owners and the selling of any property.
Currently, the city of Grove City owns the parcels, but the Railroad owns the parking lot on the site.
"It will more than likely be a land swap," said Grove City Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage.
Council President Ted Berry said, "It is a great start to showing local businesses how responsible the council wants to be" in regards to current and future businesses in the Grove City area.